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The Quill Army Assembled

Posted on Dec 13, 2015 by Louise Blackwick

Overcoming the Writer's Block

Every writer knows the best ideas are born from writer’s block. December 9th, five of our numbers have come together in a bold attempt to overcome (and eradicate once and for all) the dreaded "Writer's Block".

Quill Army First Meeting Members

Attendants: Ali, Ernests, Laura, Louise, Wouter.

The Quill Army learned to overcome the writer’s block through self-reflexive mind-mapping and topic-freewriting exercises. We equally brought to our cosy table the principles of "paragraph flow" and what constitutes "good writing". 

The meeting's outcome was exemplary: not only did we nip writer's block in the bud, but we found a few excellent techniques to banish it off, provided it ever returns. One such technique involved retrieving a small note from a hat, followed by a 7 minutes session of freewriting on the extracted topic. 

Freewriting is a technique which involves writing down everything that comes to mind on a given topic, without self-censorship or paying attention to grammar, structure or style. It is an excellent way of getting yourself in a good writing mood and triggering a smooth flow, even in absence of inspiration or motivation. It is also a way of milking creative ideas out of yourself, which you can save for future reference.

During the 7 minutes-long freewriting exercise, none of us has edited, organized, or employed impressive words or synonyms in our writing. Each member wrote down everything and anything they could think of, without spell-checking or word-building their text. Because sharing builds confidence, here are two examples of the outcome:


Topic: WATER

Author: Alireza Rohani

"When I was six, my dad really wanted me to learn swimming. So he took me to a swimming pool, though I hated water. I remember I was sitting beside the swimming pool, with my toes in the water for three hours, and at the end I made myself wet so that my dad would think I'd been swimming. I repeated that for four whole months, and never went swimming. When I came to the Netherlands, I decided I wanted to learn to swim after all, so I joined an absolute beginner course. The Instructor lined us up and asked the first person in line: what is your record for 100 meters? I was in the wrong class! It was a professional national-level competition training course! I said I needed to go to the toilet, got dressed, left the swimming pool and never went back there again. I may not like swimming, but I love looking to the horizon, at the vast ocean. It is interesting when you take in that openness, when you don't know what lies at its end... The intersection of ocean and sky is the best place for me to sit, and look and think..."


Topic: THE FIRST THING I DO WHEN I GET HOME...

Author: Laura Nellestijn

"As soon as I open my door and step into my house, I walk towards the light switch of the hallway, which is ridiculously far away from the door --  by the way, something I still don't understand  about the building is: WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?? I close the door after switching the light on and hang my coat. Walking into the kitchen, I proceed to turn on yet another light, whilst thinking to myself: Why on earth did I put a slow-starting bulb in there, because I hardly see anything! My cat greets me with a very annoying "meow" and I greet him back with a "Hey", followed by a "What do you want?" as I check his food and water. He's fine. Usually, when I'm home, I think about all the chores I still have to do, but then decide to sit on the couch and switch the tv on, and watch some netflix until bedtime -- which always becomes later than I had planned."


The Quill Army is an open-attendance social group with a goal for self-expression and a life of its own. It acts as a support group for writers, aspiring writers, writing enthusiasts or simply people who would like to take up writing, whether as hobby, for leisure or as profession. Our meetings follow a meeting agenda on which writing-related topics will be brought under discussion

The Quill Army's long-term goal is to maintain a creative identity, develop a professional writer mindset and more importantly, make writing fun!

The Quill Army aims to:

  • inspire its members to pursue writing
  • motivate attendees to write creatively
  • empower each other to complete written works
  • help you find the story in you
  • discuss the alchemy of good writing
  • share our experiences with publishing
  • overcome writers' block
  • reshape the world through writing

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